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How Will You Spend Your Furlough?

I'm sitting in front of the Capitol in Sacramento with Power Lunch anchor Sue Herera.

Jane Wells and Sue Herera
cnbc.com
Jane Wells and Sue Herera

Sue, a California native, is out here to anchor a special report tonight on California's financial melodrama.

She remembers her father jumping up and down with joy when Prop 13 passed 31 years ago.

Taxpayers are about as angry now as they were then.

However, Sacramento is where the furloughs of state workers will hit hardest. This is a company town, and state government is the company. The mandatory three days off a month without pay through next June for most state workers equals a 15 percent pay cut. It'll save taxpayers over a billion dollars.

One coffee shop near the Capitol has a sign that says, "When state workers suffer, we suffer."

As I waited to do a live shot, I chatted with a CalTrans employee, an older gentleman who is working on a project to photographically map the state. Funds are obviously being cut, as mapping California is pretty low on the list of priorities after cutting money for education, prisons, health and welfare.

He's taking it in stride, happy just to have a job. Even though he's in a union, he says his pay will be cut on top of the furloughs. But I asked him what he plans to do with three days off a month during the week. Think of the possibilities! "A friend said I should finally try golf," he says. "I tried it. That took care of one day."

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Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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